The Present Moment – Shan You

What is Mindfulness?

  • Perhaps a good way to understand mindfulness is to describe the lack of it. Our minds are often preoccupied with mental chatter, such as going over and over things that have happened in the past or worrying about the future. The mind is often acting like a wild monkey, swinging from tree to tree. Our attention is rarely fully focused on the present moment.
  • Many of us go through the day on automatic-pilot mode. We often judge or evaluate what we experience based on conditioned beliefs and assumptions. We make hasty decisions or react automatically based on our habitual way of thinking and feeling. When we live our day on automatic-pilot mode, we are unaware of many things in the present moment, such as the sounds and sights of birds and nature around us or the rhythm of the morning rain.
  • Mindfulness is to be fully present in the moment and to each experience as it unfolds. According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Centre, mindfulness is "paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally. This kind of attention nurtures greater awareness, clarity, and acceptance of present-moment reality. It wakes us up to the fact that our lives unfold only in moments. If we are not fully present for many of those moments, we may not only miss what is most valuable in our lives but also fail to realize the richness and the depth of our possibilities for growth and transformation.”
  • The cultivation of mindfulness over time helps us to develop the freedom to respond intentionally and purposefully to life, instead of reacting automatically. Mindfulness empowers us to respond skillfully and wisely to whatever is happening in the here and now, be it pleasant or unpleasant, wanted or unwanted.
Victor E Frankel, Psychiatrist and Holocaust Survivor:

“Between stimulus and response there is a space, In that space is our power to choose our response, In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

How is Mindfulness Cultivated?

  • Cultivating mindfulness typically involves a range of formal and informal mindfulness practices. They include paying attention to the sensations of the breath or the sensations that arise in the body. Other practices include bringing awareness to sounds, thoughts or feelings as they arise and everyday activities like walking and eating. The key intention of mindfulness practice is to maintain awareness in the present moment and use the objects of attention as an “anchor” to reconnect with the here and now whenever the mind wanders.
  • Mindfulness practices help us to move out of automatic-pilot mode and connect with the present moment. With regular practice, the ability to be more fully present in each moment will grow. Mindfulness helps us gain a sense of moment-to-moment awareness of our experiences – allowing us to feel more grounded and balanced, and to accept ourselves just as we are in each moment.

Empirically-Supported Benefits of Mindfulness

Research has indicated that cultivating a more mindful way of being is associated with improvements in physical, mental and emotional health as well as a better quality of life. Mindfulness can help to:

Reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety

Reduce stress and stress-related medical symptoms

Reduce rumination and emotional reactivity

Enhance positive emotions

Enhance self-awareness and emotional control

Improve ability to focus attention

Boost working memory

Improve cognitive performance (e.g. problem solving, decision-making)

Increase cognitive flexibility

Increase cognitive flexibility

Improve overall health and wellbeing (e.g., improve immune functioning)

Mindfulness Audios

Listen and experience brief guided mindfulness practices. Begin your journey to cultivate a more mindful way of living.

Breathing Space Meditation

Self Compassion Break

Mindfulness of Hand

Mindfulness Session

Holding Your Being

Breathing In What You Need and Out What You Don't

Mindfulness of Sensation of Touch

Listening to Release in the Body

Compassionate Breath

Holding Our Breath as Sacred and Special